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Teddy Bridgewater building trade value via OTAs?

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Since taking a low-cost flier on Teddy Bridgewater in the early days of free agency, the Jets traded a treasure trove of draft picks to draft Sam Darnold as the quarterback of the future.

Darnold is now being heralded as the long-awaited franchise savior, lending further credence to the notion that Bridgewater was signed primarily for the opportunity to flip a coveted asset for a draft pick once his surgically repaired knee proves to be fully rehabilitated.

Bridgewater is off to an impressive start with his new team, inspiring ESPN.com's Rich Cimini to declare that the quarterback's trade value is "trending upward."

This is the first peek at Bridgewater's progress since he lost backup duties to Sam Bradford late last season. The 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year and erstwhile quarterback of the future in Minnesota was deemed an afterthought as soon as Kirk Cousins was set free by the Redskins.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, a former Vikings beat reporter, checked in with his Minnesota sources to gauge the credibility of Bridgewater's burgeoning trade value.

Even though Bradford bypassed Bridgewater on the depth chart, Pelissero was told, it's no surprise to hear that the former Louisville star is shining in no-contact practices.

"He threw the football well [last season]," Pelissero reported on Tuesday's edition of NFL Up to the Minute. "Teammates talk about how Bridgewater's arm actually looked stronger than before he got hurt."

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer cautioned in late March that doctor's reviews of Bridgewater's knee didn't reflect what he witnessed on the practice field.

"He still has some recovery to do," Zimmer offered.

Taken in combination with Bridgewater's meager contract, Josh McCown's re-signing and the blockbuster deal that landed Darnold in the Big Apple, Zimmer's comments created an impression that lingering knee issues would sabotage Bridgewater's Jets career before it even got started.

Whereas the Vikings naturally harbored high expectations based on their lofty experiences with a pre-injury Bridgewater, however, there's no such baseline in Florham Park. Bridgewater is starting from scratch -- and opening a few eyes in the process.

In a touch of irony, Bridgewater figures to enter training camp on the trade block, rivaling former stand-in Bradford as the go-to target for any team that might lose its own starter.

"[Bridgewater] is very tradeable," Pelissero explained. "They only paid him a $500,000 bonus. His salary for the season [is] $5.5 million in base salary."

Prior to the career-threatening injury, Bridgewater exhibited impressive accuracy, touch and improvisational ability to go with an intermediate-to-deep ball that was better than advertised. Since then, though, he has attempted just two NFL passes.

Who's going to surrender valuable draft capital for an unknown entity?

Until intrigued teams see his knee -- and psyche -- pass the crucial test against pressuring defenses in preseason action, they are unlikely to take the Jets' trade bait.

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